One of my final projects at my field placement with the Center for New North Carolinians (CNNC) was to coordinate a photo exhibit of Bhutanese refugee camps. Saturday, March 30, the CNNC held an open house for the community to view a photo exhibit demonstrating life for Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. The exhibit, “One Summer in Damak”, was put together from photos that were shot by students in Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics (KIE).
Visitors from Greensboro came, as well as students from KIE and many Bhutanese refugees from Durham, Raleigh and Greensboro totaling roughly 120 attendees. It was a happy occasion and the atmosphere felt like a family reunion. A large number of the adults who came from Raleigh were senior citizens who rarely had the chance to attend events. They reminisced over the memories that the images evoked and Bhutanese children from the Triad quickly made friends with those from the Triangle, eager to “add” each other on Facebook. Two men recognized a friend in one of the photos. They realized that that particular camp was no longer in existence and that that friend was now resettled in New York.
The beauty of the day was in the fact that for a short time, the Bhutanese were the majority and the locals were the minority. For the day, they were free to dress, speak, and act comfortably in their native manner, a rare joy in their host country.